Gosh we have been on holiday for a long time ! ! ! I was at home in Okinawa and Mr P was at home in Hawaii and then we had our honeymoon cave diving in Iceland and time just flashed by ! ! ! But we are back now and we have a great selection of tracks for you ! ! ! We have avant garde, some chilled tropical sounds from my home, a 16 year old school girl who has already had 22,000 songs written just for her . . . . and . . . .well . . . Mr P’s other choice ! ! !
Ta dah ! Just when you thought it was safe..we’re back with a tremendous pot-pouri of J-Pop and culture for you. Hope you enjoy it !
A Message From The Faculty ! ! !
Holidays are over and lessons and club activities have started again ! ! ! We expect you in class for your Japanese Lesson with P sensei and if you do not have cram school we expect to see you in the Culture Club With S sensei ! ! ! This week the in Japanese class will learn the meaning of Hikikomori ! ! !
In the culture club S sensei will be explaining about the cultural linguistic matrix and one reason why communication between westerns and Japanese people can be difficult . . even in Japanese ! ! !
She Says: H is for Hatsune Miku
Hatsune Miku is a pretty 16 years old girl with long hair which she wears in bunches, her star sign is Virgo she is 158cm tall and weighs a modest but healthy 43 kg, and she has had an estimated 22,000 songs written specifically for her, and is the undoubted star of Asian video sharing sites ! ! !
That is a great achievement for a High School girl ! ! !. Unfortunately of course Hatsune Miku is not real – she is a vocaloid.
A vocaloid is a computer program that is linked to a synthesizer and by typing the lyrics and the melody into the computer the vocalid software you will be able to hear your words and music sung by the vocaloid
Hatsune Miku is a persona created by Crypton Future Media, that uses the Yamaha vocaloid 2 and 3 software. Her voice is sampled from the popular voice actress Fujita Saki.
When you buy the Hatsune Miku software you are also licensed to use her image and so you can record your songs and make videos of them with Hatune Miku staring in them ! ! ! It is great fun and like most types of fun it is nice to share and play with others and there are now thousands of collaborative multimedia projects where groups of people are collaborating on making music and animation.
Hatsune Miku continues to grow in popularity and has now appeared in a computer game and she has even held a live concert ! ! !
This is a typical pop video and song made by a collaboration of different people. So, check out the do- it – yourself pop star . . . .and if you think you can do better . . . . . . Then just get busy with Pro Tools and a synthesizer ! ! !
Hatsune Miku – Love Trail
“Pop stars” who don’t exist in real life are, of course, nothing new. The Archies, Josie and the Pussycats, Pinky and Perky etc. However Japan takes it to a whole new level with the vocaloid thing. I must confess that, musically, I find it a bit unappealing but I can see why young , computer literate people might like it. It’s quite an interesting use of technology really and being interactive very engaging for the punters.
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He Says: H is for Hazel Nut Chocolate
Very interesting lady Hazel Nut as Sakura points out. I think she’s dropped this style now. Her last recording was released as HNC and was much “darker” in style than the Nut Chocolate stuff. This is a typically “kawaii” track. Ahoy, Maties !
Hazel Nut Chocolate – Yo Ho Ho
Yuppa is the singer song writer that records and performs under the name of Hazel Nut Chocolate. She is a singer, songwriter, producer, DJ, graphic artist, book illustrator, author, blogger and computer programer and all round wonder girl ! ! ! She has written and produced for international J-pop super star and fashion idol Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and often works with super girl guitar hero Moe from indie outfit Love & Hates. She is a really interesting and talented person in so many ways and her music is fascinating. She has a child like and ironic style which actually has a dark side hidden under the layers of chocolate. Her songs are both superficial and challenging at the same time and she has a dedicated cult following in Japan and tickets for her concerts harder to buy than tickets to see the Beatles ! ! ! Just wonderful in every respect ! ! !
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School Time ! ! !
Learn Japanese The Fun and Easy Way with P sensei’s Word a Week Method ! ! !
P Sensei Says: H is for Hikikomori
“Hikikomori”. You thought we Brits could do “insular” ? Well the Japanese Hikikomori take it one step further with quite catastrophic results at times. It’s a term for someone that , feeling socially pressurised in some way, has withdrawn almost completely from the outside world. Often supported by their parents and sometimes, paradoxically, quite “sociable” online. The large number of young adults affected by this means that it’s a troubling social phenomenon at times and there are various attempts to “cure” people. Difficult, of course, when they don’t leave their rooms !
The He Said ~ She Said Culture Club with S Sensei ! ! !
S Sensei Says: H is for Honne and Tatemae
Welcome to the He Said – She Said Culture Club ! ! ! This week I am going to talk about the challenge of culture and linguistic conventions in communicatio between Japanese people and westerners.
In my experience westerns ( and especially the guys – yes this is you my precious Mr P ! ! ! ) are very literal and they do not read body language well and they are not good at understanding the things you say in silence between the words in a conversation.
In fact I dated a guy in the USA when I was studying there, who was so bad at this that I once had to tell him “Will you please be quite and listen to what I am not saying ! ! !” But somehow he did not get it at all ! ! !
Of course we all know how charming it is to speak to pre-school kids and the way they just say the first thing they think of, and in many ways conversations with westerns should be conducted in the same way.
Japanese has various levels of politeness that are expressed grammatically and lexicographically and there is men’s Japanese and women’s Japanese and which gender is talking to which gender effects the words and their meanings, and to communicate appropriately you also need you need to be able to read the body language ( even on the phone ) and understand what is said in the silences in conversations, but one of the biggest difficulties western people have is with honne and tatemae.
This is a concept where words change meaning depending on the relationship between the people talking. Honne is when you are talking to friends, family and children and is a direct way of speaking where words have their most simple meaning, but that Tatemae is where the words have a different meaning because of the relationship between the people. So lets look at a real example:
I was in a café with my best friend Yuki and one of the student at the university where I am now working, saw us and come over and sat with us to take a coffee. After a while the conversation went like this:
Yuki says: We are going to a restaurant later would you like to join us for dinner ?
Yuki means: Can you leave now please.
He says: Oh thank you but I have some errands to run
He means: Sorry of disturbing you, I will leave right away.
This is perfect communication, everyone understands tatemae and the social context. But western people have a problem to understand this and using tatemae can lead to misunderstanding ! ! !
Here is another really life example:
I met an Australian English language teacher a while ago in a café and after pretending to be interested in his boring job and life for about 20 minutes and exchanging mobile phone email addresses the conversation became like this:
He says: Would you like to meet at a bar and go for a drink later?
He Means: Would you like to meet at a bar and go for a drink later?
I say: ummmm . . ..it may be difficult . . . .
I mean: No way Jose ! ! !
He says: I will be in Bar 65 later, I hope you can make it.
He Means: I will be in Bar 65 later I hope you can make it.
I say: Maybe later
I mean: No way will I go to the bar to meet you
Later . .
An email message arrives on my phone;
He says: I am in the bar will you be able to come?
He means: I am in the bar will you be able to come?
I say: I have to run some errands . . .
I mean: Even if you wait a million years you are never going to see me in that bar ! ! !
( Click “Block Sender” . . . Click “Delete Contact” )
A common mistake that western people make when talking to Japanese people is in thinking that the word always mean the same thing and of course this is absolutely not the case.
We are not being dishonest or being afraid to say the truth when we use tatemae – we are just using a lingusitic convention which every Japanese person would understand . . . . . we just sometimes forget that westerners . . . . . are . . . . . so . . . damn literal ! ! !
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I love this group. The first musical home for Jun Togawa who appeared on some tracks, mainly as a backing singer. They sound. as Sakura says, very contemporary for a 30 year old group.
Two of the members stayed with Jun in the Yapoos and one went to Guernica with her. She performed some of their songs when with the Yapoos. They were only around for a couple of years, but their two albums contain some of my favorite J-Music of all time.
Some classic Japanese Advant Garde ! ! ! The Halmens were a really great band and lead the early Japanese Avant Garde movement. The wonderful Togawa Jun was the backing singer for them and the main vocalist was Saeki Kenzo who qualified as a dentist and is now practicing under an different name in Tokyo . . . . Well if you listen to their music a lot you will understand why . . .
They formed in 1980 and were together for three years. Their two albums are now considered classics fo the era and genre. I love this track, Like most of their tracks, it has a very modern feel, even though it is more than 30 years old ! ! ! I did not really know the before Mr P told me they were wonderful and I must admit I have now have both their albums on my iPhone and I listen to them when I go jogging . . . does that make me weird ? ? ?
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She says: H is for HY
This is actually one of the most important songs in my life ! ! !
It was released in 2003 and at that time I was in boarding school in Okinawa and 17 years old. I had fallen in love for the first time and this song some how became our song. It was a really important time in my life and I felt emotions i had never felt before. This song really reminds me of waking up in the morning in beautiful Okinawa, with the sun shining and the breeze coming in through the window and having the day ahead of us and the simple joy of being with the person you love. HY are the luckiest people in the world, ! ! ! They formed a band to have fun with when there were in high school in Okinawa and 15 years later andafter several number one ablums they are still having fun together – how great is that ? ? ? This year they released a wonderful new album called Glocal – so if you have time check it out ! ! ! But this will always be my favourite ! ! !
I was lucky to find a video whith English subtitles ! ! !
HY – 11:00 In The Morning
Obviously this has personal resonance for Sakura . A nice song, I think. Words a bit “girlie” but we’ll let that pass. Okinawa seems to have a habit of producing good musicians. Must be all the gourds they eat or something. Or maybe it’s the inspirational muse of the beautiful young ladies of the islands that inspires the guys to write so sensitively.
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We really hope you have enjoyed the post and found somehting intereting to listen to. We love Japanese music and we hope that if we show you the variety of music there is in Japan then maybe you you will find something to love to ! ! ! Next tine it will be “I” we are talking about . . . .I hope you will join us ! ! !
A good selection of sounds this week, I think and a very interesting cultural post from Sakura. Thank you for taking the time to read/listen to our little obsessions. We’ll be back soon for …..I !
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